International Conference: “Political Communication in the Medieval World, 800-1600”

political.communication-2015-confRome, Italy
27 – 29th May 2015

Jointly organized by the ERC-research group “Communication and Empire: Chinese Empires in Comparative Perspective” (Leiden University) and the Koninklijk Nederlands Instituut Rome (KNIR).

This workshop brings together scholars with an interest in comparative political culture in order to discuss questions and methods in the study of political communication in European and Chinese history between the ninth and the sixteenth centuries. Particular attention will be given to the formation and dynamics of polities as well as to shifts in social and political power structures.

The meeting aims to stimulate discussion on the historical interpretation of Chinese and European sources of political communication, including letters, notebooks, newsletters, treatises and archival compilations; the institutional parameters of elite communication and their political relevance; and the structures of elite networks that contributed to the strengthening or fragmentation of polities and political identities. The comparative perspective is intended to interrogate the focuses of Chinese and European historiographies of political culture and to allow for a global perspective on long-term developments in state formation and communication. Participants are invited to consider questions such as:

Is the comparability of sources a prerequisite for applying a comparative perspective to political communication? Is it possible and desirable to generate a typology of sources that comprises both China and Europe?

Does the focus on private and commercial sources of political communication lead to new historiographies of political thought and action? How do such sources interact with official histories and archives?

Which economic, social and political institutions were significant in necessitating and furthering political communication among elites? Can we establish a genealogy of communication patterns that may explain distinct institutional trajectories in China and Europe?

Can we identify hierarchies among elite networks? Did formal political power emerge from informal networks?

What was the relationship between family, political networks, and the state in theory and practice? What roles were imagined for different actors and entities in the political order?

Which methods can best contribute towards a comparative historiography of political communication?

How can micro-historical frameworks contribute to our understanding of macro-political processes?

Should a comparative history of political communication and social power of the medieval world focus on regional or cross-regional political entities? Was there a significant role of cross-cultural networks in furthering both political dynamics within and interaction amongst polities?

The workshop language is English. Attendance is by invitation only.

Read more about this event at the conerence website: External Link…


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